Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I realise that there are many volunteer coordinators, managers, directors, project officers across the globe. Those who lead and manage volunteers have many titles. I am a member of 3 newsgroups or listservs and they are




The top 2 are based in Australia and the UK and the latter in the US. (I am wondering if any visitor can tell us why it didn’t become USvpm?)

For those of you who may not know what these groups layman’s terms they are an email network of volunteer managers ( or whatever title suits the day) who share experiences, ideas and concerns. I am a member of all 3 because they give me a global insight into the issues pertaining to volunteer management.

Sometimes however I see a challenge posted in the US and answered by a practitioner in the US and I think "wow - that would be so relevant and helpful to the volunteer coordinator in Australia".

And the same thought emerges from postings in the UK and Australia.

It makes me think that the issues and challenges we face are very much shared in global terms. We are still at a stage where we as a a sector globally are very quiet. Lets face it, Volunteer Management is not taken seriously anywhere in the globe. I welcome comments to prove otherwise. Ok, I accept that there is progress in some places but in my humble opinion, the UK seems to be more visual, Australia seems to be sleeping, the US appears to be disjointed and divided.

I think we are still small enough now to become a global movement. And when we mature we will not need such global movements! It’s time for something as simple as a Globalvpm newsgroup in my opinion! I’ve suggested something similar before but was told that some professional associations were going to start a network of their presidents to form a group. Well, as far as i am aware It hasn’t happened yet and I for one am tired of waiting for such a thing to happen.

As a sector I believe we have a major weakness in the fact that we are all talk and no action!

A positive action now would be for the various newsgroups to combine to create a global network! Yes..keep your individual networks as they have their place but go global on volunteer management if you are serious about seeing a real sector emerge!

a vibrant global network may grow and give validation and power to our profession!

We are small enough now to combine to become big enough to disengage from that combination!

I only mention the US, Oz and the UK. That’s because they have the VPM newsgroups! But by their very titles they exclude New Zealand, Canada, Ireland - 3 nations rich in volunteerism!

And what about the rest of Europe, Asia, Africa, etc.....

Its time for Globalvpm. Who will take up the challenge and the opportunity?????

Volunteering is global.

So is Volunteer Management! I suspect though it exists under many titles!

Let’s get loud!


  1. I just wrote a VERY detailed response and then it got 'eaten' by technology.

    Brief version - Am a 'usual suspect' in these discussions have been a cybervpm moderator for years - it was the parent of ukvpm and ozvpm. My understanding that none are intended to be totally nation centric and cybervpm was set up by Nan Hawthorne originally with the intent of international participation

    If globalvpm appears it will be wonderful IF there is active participation. I stirred MASSIVE angst in cybervpm sometime back when I questioned the habit of lurking. I got a lot of public and private feedback.

    Key reasons emerging were that people are afraid of asking a 'stupid question' (There is no such thing - there is a person needing an answer) people not thinking they have anything profound to say (we are adults we all have something to contribute) and sadly there are those who fear organisational backlash - their boss is a member too or they are not allowed to say/ask anything in the public arena.

    Unfortunately it is pretty vital a site be moderated (which can cause delay in debate) as it is important the discussions always be around the issue and never a personal attack.

    This was supposed to be the brief version - so I will finish by saying this sector has some AMAZINGLY dedicated caring and sharing people - so to everyone - contribute... raise your voice... acknowledge you work in a fabulous sector and do your bit to make it even more amazing.. don't take no for an answer... keep asking the questions until the resources and supports are entrenched!


    Kerrie Spinks

  2. I wouldn't mind a place global discussion, but I think there's a need for OzVPM and UKVPMs to remain regionally centric. The discussions *are* different a lot of the time.

    The World Volunteer Web, hosted by UNV, has a lot of places we could be having a global discussion. It's focused pretty much just on volunteers -- but why not volunteer management as well? Everyone go there and bombard it with messages!!


Featured Post

The simple act of kindness.

How we learn from our children! This post was inspired by an act of my daughter. When her mum arrived at work today she found this...